"Christian was a beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed boy. He was quiet but had a silly sense of humor and excelled as a student with straight A’s."

Sandy & Gary Barker have the honor and opportunity to say that their greatest inspiration is their child. Christian Gordon Barker, born May 6, 1993, was the epitome of patience and courage. Christian was a beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed boy. He was quiet but had a silly sense of humor and excelled as a student with straight A’s. He had a great love for his siblings Garrett and Kendall and loved spending time with his family. He loved soccer, video games, math, drawing hilarious comics, and giving tight “Christian hugs”.

Christian was diagnosed on May 7, 2006 (the day after his 13th birthday) with Hypo-diploid Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia which is a very rare and high-risk form of childhood cancer. We were told his only hope for survival was to have a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT). After extensively researching centers of excellence, we chose SCCA (or Fred Hutch) in Seattle and had to split our family to get him to treatment. Both of us had to try to manage visits and travel costs back and forth but there was nothing we wouldn’t do to fight.

"Christian was cancer-free when he died which is testament to the toxicity and dangers of current pediatric cancer treatment."

Over the next 20 months, Christian’s battle with cancer was brutal and relentless including several surgeries and procedures. He underwent 2 bone marrow transplants, over 16 months in the hospital, endless chemotherapy, pain, total body irradiation, extensive isolation, 3 relapses, and fatal liver failure caused by Graft vs. Host Disease. Christian fought to hold on, but he passed away on December 29, 2007 surrounded by our family who loves him so much! Christian was cancer-free when he died which is testament to the toxicity and dangers of current pediatric cancer treatment. This ignited a fight in Sandy to help children have more options and innovative therapies for a cure.

They say our true colors are revealed when we are faced with adversity. Christian showed us his true colors through his incredible courage, determination, respect, compassion for others, and faithfulness in God. His quiet and sweet nature spoke volumes. I hope he can see how his life and legacy have impacted so many people. He is the driving force behind so much of what we do. I pray Christian’s life isn’t defined by his cancer, but by the inspiring character traits he showed to others and what his life has ignited through Gold Rush Cure Foundation.

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